Greek festival winds down with cuisine, culture lessons - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Greek festival winds down with cuisine, culture lessons

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Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2007 6:59 am | Updated: 6:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

How’s your appetite for spanakopita? The Festival of Greece wants to enlighten everyone this weekend and is holding classes to teach newcomers how to make this traditional Greek dish and learn about other Greek customs and activities.

The 15th annual festival wraps up today at the Scottsdale Civic Center.

According to marketing co-chairwoman Mindy Spelius, attendance over the weekend was expected to be 15,000 to 20,000.

“We have had a fantastic turnout,” Spelius said.

Events at the festival included dancing, music and traditional food. Olympian, a Greek dance troupe from Chicago, performed multiple times daily for the three-day event.

Spelius said that food at the festival costs around $10 for dinner and between $1 and $4 for desserts and snacks.

Fellow marketing cochairwoman Michele Genetos said Scottsdale’s Assumption Greek Orthodox Church that has hosted the event in the past could not hold the numerous festivalgoers.

“We bused people in from a nearby Wal-Mart parking lot,” Genetos said. “The buses were expensive.”

Both chairwomen attend Assumption. Although they are not Greek themselves, they are both married to Greek men.

Volunteer Diana Ozee of Scottsdale is the child of two Greek immigrants and was born in the United States.

“When we moved here, my mother couldn’t speak a word of English,” Ozee said. She explained that her mother would attend American movies and learned the language through Englishspeaking films.

Ozee’s parents owned a restaurant in Chicago called RK Grill, which served American dishes.

“Mom used to cook the Greek stuff in the back for us,” she said.

Although not Greek themselves, Shannon Prescott and Heather Garton, both of Scottsdale, have enjoyed the Greek festivals in the past.

“The food at the festival is amazing,” Prescott said.

The two also brought their children to play in the numerous “bounce houses” to get them out of the house.

Today’s events include live music from the group Synthesi and dancing by Olympian.

The night will be capped off by a showing of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” at 6 p.m.

Scottsdale Festival of Greece

When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today

Where: Scottsdale Civic Center, 7380 E. Second St.

Cost: Free admission and parking

Information: (480) 391-8185 or www.azgreekfest.com

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